Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for post-partum OCD: The transition to parenthood is difficult

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for post-partum OCD: The transition to parenthood is difficult

When you have OCD, the transition to parenthood isn’t always easy. It can be particularly difficult when you suffer from post-partum OCD, which involves having obsessive fears about harming your baby because of an overwhelming sense of responsibility and duty toward your child. Fortunately, there are effective treatment options available, including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), that can help you heal from your OCD symptoms and prepare for the challenges of being a parent. 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder 

OCD, or obsessive compulsive disorder, can be defined as an anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent obsessions (unwanted thoughts) and compulsions (actions that one feels compelled to do). OCD typically manifests in early adulthood with many people having their first episode by the time they are 20 years old. It has been estimated that up to 1% of the population will experience a chronic form of the disorder over their lifetime. 

OCD can be treated effectively with a combination of medications and psychotherapy. Exposure and response prevention therapy is effective for those whose symptoms have not responded well to medication alone. One component of exposure and response prevention therapy involves imaginal exposure, which entails writing out scenarios you fear may happen then reading them aloud until you no longer feel anxious about them. Exposure therapies also help patients identify triggers so that they can avoid things that make them anxious, such as going into public bathrooms or touching anything someone else may have touched before. 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder after pregnancy 

The transition to parenthood can be fraught with challenges, including feeling out of control or experiencing intrusive thoughts. For some, this can lead to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) symptoms, which may include obsessions (unwanted thoughts) and compulsions (repeated behaviors). One treatment that has been shown effective in managing these symptoms is Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). ERP involves exposure to the unwanted thoughts without performing a compulsive behavior. If done consistently over time, this helps break the cycle of ritualized thinking and leads to a decrease in obsessive thoughts. In post-partum OCD , sufferers experience both obsessions about harming their baby and compulsions such as counting, reciting prayers, repeating words silently, or doing deep breathing exercises. Treatment usually begins with  sessions that teach patients how to identify when they are having an obsession and coping techniques to manage it. Next comes systematic desensitization through ERP; therapists gradually increase exposure time for mental exercises designed to help patients cope with their fears. 

My Symptoms During Pregnancy 

During my pregnancy, I developed obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) that revolved around intrusive thoughts about harming my baby. These intrusive thoughts were persistent and uncontrollable, causing me significant distress and anguish. Once I delivered my son, these thoughts worsened and became more extreme. When he was 2 months old, I began having visions of choking him or smothering him with a pillow. After receiving a diagnosis from a psychiatrist at, I was prescribed an anti-depressant called Lexapro. It did not seem to help much so we added the new anti-depressant Seroquel in addition to Lexapro. While there has been some improvement in my symptoms, they are still bothering me everyday. Acceptance and commitment therapy has helped tremendously by teaching me how to live with them rather than fighting against them all the time. Now when I have distressing thoughts, I notice but try not to dwell on them. 

What Helped Me Through Pregnancy 

I was in a very dark place during my pregnancy. I had a lot of obsessions that consumed me, including thoughts about hurting the baby. I felt like I couldn’t cope with the pregnancy because of these thoughts, but luckily my therapist told me about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). This therapy has taught me to accept my thoughts without judgment while still moving forward in life. ACT helped me find peace with my thoughts and not let them hold me back. Now I’m able to have more confidence in myself as a mom, knowing that I can take care of my child even though I have intrusive thoughts sometimes. 

Depression, Anxiety and Sleeping Problems After Having A Baby 

If you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, sleeping problems or any other mental health issue after the birth of your baby, it’s important to know that these feelings are normal. Postpartum OCD is a relatively new diagnosis in the DSM-5, but this doesn’t mean you’re alone. It’s not uncommon for new mothers to struggle with intrusive thoughts that their baby will be harmed or die. These may cause obsessive compulsive rituals like checking on the child over and over again, locking doors repeatedly or even compulsively washing hands. For some women, these obsessions can become so severe that they start to make decisions based on whether they think they’ll help prevent harm from happening. If you are looking for a referral or help with symptoms like these, please contact us at Better Living Center for Behavioral Health. 

Hit and Run OCD: Exposing Yourself to Your Fears

Hit and Run OCD: Exposing Yourself to Your Fears

It’s Saturday morning and you’re sitting at home reading the paper. Suddenly your mind starts to play tricks on you, causing you to doubt your own experience. You start to doubt whether you did indeed turn the stove off before heading out the door, so you have no choice but to return home to check—even though logically you already know it should be fine… In this article we’ll look at what hit and run OCD is and how it can be helped with exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy.

What Is Hit and Run OCD?

Hit and Run OCD is a form of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in which you find yourself obsessing over the idea that you may have done something or not done something (e.g., hit another driver or a pedestrian while driving). When you experience these thoughts, they are accompanied by feelings of anxiety. These thoughts can be so consuming that they hinder your ability to function at work, school, or in social settings. The good news is there are several treatments available for those with OCD. One of the most well-known is acceptance and commitment therapy, or ACT.

Examples of Hit and Run Attacks

If you’re currently struggling with Hit and Run OCD, there are many things that you can do to stop the attacks. One thing is to get exposure therapy, which will help bring you closer to your fears. But there are other methods as well, such as getting involved in activities that will make you feel less anxious or getting enough sleep. Acceptance and commitment therapy is also a good option because it helps people accept their thoughts instead of fighting them. It’s all about changing what they’re telling themselves, which isn’t always easy. If you have symptoms like these, please contact us for a referral or for treatment at Better Living Center for Behavioral Health.

The Importance of Seeing an OCD Specialist for False Memory OCD

The Importance of Seeing an OCD Specialist for False Memory OCD

If you suffer from what has been dubbed false memory OCD, it can be confusing to figure out if you actually have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or if what you are experiencing falls under an entirely different subtype. Part of the confusion stems from the fact that false memory OCD shares many of the same features as other forms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, like harm obsessions and unwelcome intrusive thoughts. However, there are some distinct differences which mark this subtype as its own unique diagnosis. 

How Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can affect you 

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a mental health condition in which someone experiences unwanted and intrusive thoughts (obsessions) that cause them great anxiety. The person with the disorder then performs repetitive behaviors or mental acts (compulsions) as a way to reduce the anxiety caused by their obsessions. These compulsions can take up hours out of a day, and can be followed by guilt and shame. 

Symptoms of False Memory OCD 

If you are questioning whether you might have false memory OCD, here may be signs to look out for. Are you constantly questioning if your memories are real? Do you get intrusive thoughts telling you that your memories are fake and that the person in them isn’t who they claim to be? Have you had these thoughts since a traumatic event? If so, please seek professional help. The best way to diagnose false memory OCD is through a mental health specialist. In order to find the right specialist, it’s important to know that this type of OCD can only be treated by a psychologist or psychiatrist with experience treating patients with this type of OCD. In addition, there are other forms of treatment available such as medication (to reduce anxiety), cognitive-behavioral therapy (to learn how to control obsessions) or exposure response prevention (to address avoidance). 

What happens during treatment 

The treatment for false memory OCD is often a combination of individual therapy, group therapy, and medication. While the treatment may vary depending on the severity of your symptoms, there are many things that you can do to help yourself recover. These include developing coping skills to deal with intrusive thoughts, identifying when you’re using avoidance as a coping strategy, and practicing self-compassion. If you’re experiencing these obsessive worries, it’s important to seek professional help. An OCD specialist will be able to provide information about this type of OCD and develop an appropriate treatment plan. 

Can Habit Reversal Help Break the Cycle of Skin-Picking?

Can Habit Reversal Help Break the Cycle of Skin-Picking?

Skin-picking, also known as dermatillomania and excoriation, is a body-focused repetitive disorder (BFRD) in which the person has an irresistible urge to scratch, pick, or scrape their skin on a near-constant basis. Skin-picking can occur on any part of the body, but common areas include the scalp, face, arms, legs, and hands. When skin-picking isn’t addressed in time, it can cause scarring of the skin or co-occur with more serious mental health issues such as body dysmorphic disorder. 

What Is BFRB? 

BFRB stands for Body-focused Repetitive Behavior. BFRBs are defined as a cluster of behaviors in which an individual repeatedly engages in body focused acts (e.g., hair pulling, skin picking, nail biting) that result in damage to the body. The repetitive nature of these behaviors can make them hard to stop, and can lead to other mental health problems such as anxiety or depression.  

A person who compulsively bites their nails may start feeling anxious before they go into a meeting at work because they know they will have ruined nails afterwards, leading them back to nail biting again. 

What Is Habit Reversal Therapy? 

Habit reversal therapy is one type of cognitive behavior therapy for people with BFRBs. This therapy helps you to change your response to whatever triggers your urge to pick. The goal is to replace picking at your skin, hair, or nails with an activity that provides a similar sense of satisfaction but does not lead to damage. One example might be wearing gloves while you do dishes. Another example might be brushing your teeth instead of picking at any bumps on your face or fingers. There are many different possibilities and this method is often customized for each person’s needs. 

How Does Habit Reversal Work to Change Behavior? 

Habit reversal can be a powerful intervention for skin picking. It is a type of behavioral treatment that works by associating something with your picking that becomes incompatible with it. In other words, you reward yourself for not engaging in your compulsion by making sure you do something else instead. To make this happen, the person has to choose their replacement activity ahead of time and follow through on their commitment every time they stop themselves from performing their compulsive behavior. You can’t just tell yourself to stop picking and then continue to pick, or you may simply find that your compulsion grows worse. You have to replace your picking with something else. That something else is called a replacement behavior. 

Where Can I Learn More about Habit Reversal Therapy for Skin-Picking Disorder? 

Habit reversal therapy for skin-picking disorder is a technique that helps people learn how to stop unwanted behaviors, like picking their skin. Comb-B is a method that is used in this type of therapy, and it can help you learn what triggers your skin picking and what to do about it. Comb-B stands for behavioral, cognitive, emotional, and biological interventions. It’s designed to help patients identify triggers for their behavior and then create an action plan to prevent the behavior from occurring again. Comb-B has been shown to be effective in treating other body-focused repetitive disorders, such as nail biting, hair pulling, and compulsive hair plucking. If you are interested in referrals or treatment of skin-picking please contact us at Better Living Center for Behavioral Health. 

Depression: Effective Treatments including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Behavioral Activation

Depression: Effective Treatments including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Behavioral Activation

You know that you feel depression, and you may have even gotten treatment with pharmaceuticals or therapy. But what works to treat depression? We will look at the evidence behind Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Behavioral Activation (BA). Both are empirically supported treatments for depression, which means they’ve been shown in research studies to help people with this mental health issue. Let’s take a closer look at these two therapies, plus some other treatment options. 

What Is Depression? 

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is a mental illness that includes feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and hopelessness. Depression can cause a person to have trouble sleeping, have no appetite for food or sex, or lose interest in things they once enjoyed. Some people who are depressed may also experience delusions (believing something that isn’t true), hallucinations (seeing things that aren’t there), or thoughts about death or suicide. Depression is a serious condition that needs medical attention from a mental health professional. 

What Causes Depression? 

While depression is a complex condition that has many causes, certain factors are known to increase the risk of developing it. These include childhood trauma or abuse, chronic stress or anxiety, genetic predisposition, brain structure and chemistry changes over time. In addition, a traumatic event in adulthood such as death of spouse, bankruptcy or divorce can lead to depression in some people. Depression may also be caused by medical conditions such as thyroid problems, cancer treatment, diabetes or other illnesses.  

Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) 

MDD is characterized by a combination of depressive symptoms that interfere with social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. Symptoms include depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day; significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain; insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day; psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day; fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt nearly every day; diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day. Recurrent thoughts about death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideations without a specific plan, or suicide attempt or threat. 

Diagnosing MDD 

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) defines Major Depressive Disorder as a period of at least two weeks where one or more symptoms are present. Common symptoms include low mood, anhedonia (reduced pleasure in activities), disturbed sleep or appetite, reduced energy, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, thoughts of suicide. The person must also have some degree of impaired function. Other conditions such as anxiety disorders can share these symptoms with MDD and could result in misdiagnosis. These diagnoses often result from many years of chronic depression that has gradually worsened over time. 

How Is MDD Treated? 

There are a number of effective treatments for depression, which is usually managed with medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. Medications may include antidepressants (such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs) to increase the amount of neurotransmitters in the brain. Psychotherapy includes cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that can help people challenge their negative thoughts and beliefs about themselves. Other types of psychotherapy such as interpersonal therapy and behavioral activation might also be helpful. CBT has been found to be most effective when delivered individually and over a period of several months. However, it’s important not to give up too soon on any treatment because not everyone benefits from them at first try. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Behavioral Activation (BA) are also evidenced-based treatments of depression. They focus on changing how one reacts to life events rather than how they interpret them, by helping the person identify what is meaningful to them and making concrete plans around those goals. In contrast to CBT, these therapies are typically delivered in groups once or twice a week and last 10–12 weeks. 

Body Dysmorphic Disorder: Treatment and Options

Body Dysmorphic Disorder: Treatment and Options

What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

People who suffer from Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) are so distressed about their appearance that it can interfere with day-to-day life. BDD can cause people to obsessively check themselves in mirrors, avoid social interactions, and even result in self-harm. It’s important that you know how to treat Body Dysmorphic Disorder, so you can get the help you need quickly and effectively. In this article, we will explore the causes of BDD as well as the symptoms and treatments available today. We’ll also discuss options to consider if your BDD isn’t improving. 

If You Think You Have Body Dysmorphic Disorder 

Body dysmorphism disorder (BDD) is a mental health condition that involves obsessive thoughts about one or more perceived defects or flaws in physical appearance. These obsessive thoughts can lead to significant distress, depression, shame, and low self-esteem. For some people, BDD can lead to social isolation, avoidance of social situations, compulsive mirror checking, excessive grooming behaviors such as skin picking or hair plucking; these symptoms can be so distressing that they interfere with everyday life. 

Recognizing Body Dysmorphic Disorder 

The hallmark of Body Dysmorphic Disorder is the excessive amount of time spent worrying about a perceived imperfection in one’s appearance. It can be diagnosed by meeting at least five of the following criteria:  

1) Preoccupation with an imagined or even slight defect in one’s appearance that causes significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. 2) An unreasonable belief that others are paying too much attention to their physical appearance. 3) Spending hours looking for flaws or defects in their physical appearance. 4) Inability to use mirrors without becoming frustrated or upset due to one’s perceived lack of attractiveness. 5) Avoiding social interactions because they believe others will judge them as unattractive.  

What Are the Symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder? 

Symptoms of BDD can vary from person to person, but in general, people with this disorder may have obsessions about their body that are not rooted in reality. Some common obsessions include a feeling that one’s nose is too big or crooked, or that one’s skin is too dry or oily. These feelings may be paired with compulsive behaviors such as excessive grooming or the wearing of heavy makeup to cover the perceived flaws. 

How Is Body Dysmorphic Disorder Treated? 

The disorder is a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which means that it is treated with medication, therapy, and self-care strategies. Better Living Center for Behavioral Health, a Dallas intensive OCD and anxiety treatment center, helps patients learn to manage their obsessions about the way they look by teaching them how to refocus their attention on something else. 

Treatment for BDD may include a combination of treatments, such as: medications, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, dialectical behavior therapy or exposure therapy. Medications are often used to help reduce obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. Some of the medications that are used to treat BDD include serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), antipsychotics and mood stabilizers. If you or a loved one believe you need treatment for Body Dysmorphic Disorder, contact us now for assistance. 

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